4 out of 4 stars
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Strong Heart is an adventure, supernatural fiction book written by Charlie Sheldon and set in the Olympic Peninsula wilderness and the North Pacific Coast.
Tom is about to set out on a hiking trip into the Olympic National Park with his Native American friend William, and William’s daughter Myra when he receives an unexpected visit from his ex-wife. She drops off Sarah, a 13-year-old girl, who she says is Tom’s granddaughter. Unaware of her existence until this moment, Tom is naturally thrown into shock and confusion. William, however, convinces Tom to take her along with them instead of canceling the already planned trip. Sarah isn't very pleased with this arrangement, understandably, and is ornery and unenthusiastic. The journey they embark upon turns out to be completely different from what they had planned.
On the way to their destination, Tom eventually reveals that the real reason he planned this trek has to do with another trek he took decades ago with his grandfather. The story also reveals more about Tom’s Native American roots, which even William and Myra were unaware of earlier. There are also discussions about the current situation, with a big corporation manipulating the local residents to get access to mine certain areas in the locality.
The book is steeped in magic, legend, and history. The major themes the book explores is about the history of people over the world and their origins. Where did we all originally come from? How much truth is there in the legends and stories that have been passed on from generation to generation? It also reads somewhat like a travel journal when the author is describing the camping and traveling, along with beautiful descriptions of the landscape and scenery.
I like an interesting point raised in the book about how we cannot assume that something is the truth just because we haven't found any evidence to the contrary. This was definitely food for thought on how scientific theories are created based on evidence at hand and are also sometimes debunked upon finding further evidence. The conflict between belief in legends of the past and confidence in scientific evidence of the present is beautifully explored with the different viewpoints of characters.
The only thing I didn't like was certain character inconsistencies. It seemed like the characters randomly jumped between belief and skepticism in a way that didn’t make logical sense. However, this is a minor point and didn’t bother me very much. I have given it 4 out of 4 stars since I really enjoyed the book in spite of it not being the usual genre I read. I would definitely recommend it and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
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